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Friday, June 15, 2012

NO MAN IS AN ISLAND (1962)

Jeffrey Hunter stars in this by-the-numbers WWII story about five navy men who run off to the hills of Guam rather than surrender when the Japanese occupy the island. One by one, they go down, until sole-survivor Hunter, with the help of some loyal locals, is able to get important info out to the U.S. fleet and himself saved. There’s a neat fact-inspired story in here (a bit like the secondary story in SOUTH PACIFIC) and the film, shot in the Philippines, often has a strikingly clear look to its photography as well as having its heart in the right place. Heck, not only does Hunter stick up for the islanders, he even pitches in at the local leper colony where he briefly takes refuge. And there’s some extra cool day-for-night panoramas across some cultivated fields during a race to the shore late in the pic. But far too much of the film is almost laughably amateurish, thanks to inept megging from producer Richard Goldstone & scripter John Monks, Jr. in their sole shot at directing. They’re really terrible, and the cornpone editing only adds to the inadvertent merriment. You’ll see why they both went back to their day jobs.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Just a couple of years later, FATHER GOOSE/’64 had Cary Grant & Leslie Caron teasing a pretty good comedy out of this situation.

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